Winter Olympics: Hirano finally takes gold as White bows out

By Sports Desk February 11, 2022 1047

Ayumu Hirano finally secured gold in the men's snowboard halfpipe as boarding legend Shaun White narrowly missed out on a medal at his final Winter Olympic Games.

Hirano could only manage silver medals at Sochi 2014 and at Pyeongchang in 2018, and he sat in second place again behind Australian rival Scotty James heading into his third and final run.

The Japanese star executed a perfect 1440 triple cork followed by a back-to-back 1260 and a frontside 1440 to earn a score of 96.00 and his first Olympic title.

James finished in second with a score of 92.50, while Swiss athlete Jan Scherrer claimed bronze with 87.25.

White turned back the clock with a second run that scored 85.00, but on his final attempt, the 35-year-old attempted an ambitious jump that he was unable to land, ending his medal hopes as he finished in fourth place.

An emotional White, who confirmed before Beijing 2022 that these would be his final Games, said: "Snowboarding, thank you. It's been the love of my life."

Hirano was delighted with his victory, and claimed that the anger he felt for receiving a lower score than James for his second run spurred him on to pull off a near-perfect final run.

"I did what I wanted to do right at the end," Hirano said. "I wasn't able to accept the second run's score, but I managed to express my anger well at the end."

Schulting confirms speed skating dominance

Suzanne Schulting won gold in the short track speed skating 1,000m on Friday, retaining the title she won four years ago in Pyeongchang, becoming the first woman since 1998 to win consecutive Olympic titles in short track speed skating.

Having broken the world record in her quarter-final (one minute, 26.514 seconds), Dutch star Schulting narrowly beat South Korea's Choi Min-jeong in a time of 1:28.391.

Belgian Hanne Desmet took bronze after a collision between Italy's Arianna Fontana and Kristen Santos of the United States.

"I became really confident out there after skating a world record," Schulting said after her win. "I was focusing on what I had to do and on my technique. It's insane."

Bittersweet day for Shiffrin

It has been a Games to forget for Mikaela Shiffrin. The American was fancied to take multiple medals away from Beijing, but skied out in both the giant slalom and slalom events, and even cast doubt on whether she would compete further after those disappointments.

However, she took to the slopes for the women's super-G on Friday, and though she did not medal, did at least finish the race.

"It felt really nice to ski that today," Shiffrin said after finishing in ninth. "There's a lot of disappointment over the last week. There's a lot of emotions. [It was] not really easy to reset and know if I was up for the challenge today.

"The track itself is beautiful, and it's sunny, and the snow is amazing. Coming back out and getting the chance to race again was just the perfect thing to do, actually.

"It's possible to feel both proud of a career and sad for the moment you're in."

The super-G was won by Swiss athlete Lara Gut-Behrami, with Austria's Mirjam Puchner claiming silver and another Swiss competitor Michelle Gisin taking bronze.

Germany make no bones about skeleton

It was a German one-two in the first completed skeleton event at Beijing 2022, with Christopher Grotheer and Axel Jungk claiming gold and silver respectively in the men's event.

Grotheer was comfortable in the end with his time of four minutes, 1.01 seconds putting him two-thirds of a second ahead of his compatriot (4:01.67), with China's Yan Wengang taking bronze (4:01.77).

Elsewhere, Iivo Niskanen of Finland claimed his third Olympic gold after winning the men's 15km classic in cross-country skiing, ahead of the Russian Olympic Committee's Alexander Bolshunov and Norway's Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo.

An exhausted Niskanen fell into the snow after crossing the line in a time of 37 minutes, 54.8 seconds.

Marte Olsbu Roeiseland of Norway claimed her third medal of the Games with gold in the 7.5km women's sprint in biathlon, hitting all 10 targets on her way to finishing ahead of Sweden's Elvira Oeberg and Italy's Dorothea Wierer.

In the women's ice hockey, the United States and Canada both comfortably secured their semi-final places with wins over Czech Republic and Sweden, with Canada thrashing the Swedes 11-0.

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Last modified on Friday, 11 February 2022 13:09
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